Sanders pledges to support Democratic nominee in 2020

Sanders pledges to support Democratic nominee in 2020
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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders to call on 2020 Democrats to reject money from drug, health insurance industries The hidden connection between immigration and health care: Our long-term care crisis Harris tops Biden in California 2020 poll MORE (I-Vt.), currently a frontrunner in a field of over a dozen Democrats running for president in 2020, pledged to support the Democratic Party’s eventual presidential nominee should he fall short.

“If we do not win, I will strongly support the Democratic nominee…and hope and believe that others feel exactly the same way. Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE must be defeated,” Sanders said Saturday while campaigning in Iowa.

Sanders, who unsuccessfully ran against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump thanks 'vicious young Socialist Congresswomen' for his poll numbers Will Trump's racist tweets backfire? Democrats fret over Trump cash machine MORE in the Democratic primary in 2016, was roundly criticized by the party establishment for what some said was a lackluster effort to support Clinton after it was clear he had fallen short of the needed delegates.

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The Vermont Independent’s party affiliation has long irritated some Democrats who believe Sanders is trying to utilize the party establishment for his gain while rebuffing the party as a whole.

Sanders also vowed he would not go on the offensive against the other Democratic nominees, many of whom are his colleagues in the Senate.

“The nature of our campaign is not belittling people, it’s not opposition research, it’s not attacking other people, but is a serious discussion about the issues facing the American people,” he said.

Several of the Democratic contenders are seeking to differentiate themselves as many angle their appeal toward the party’s progressive base with similar messaging, raising the question if candidates will have to try to set themselves apart on more personal grounds.